“Authorities in Florida have arrested a former sheriff’s deputy after an investigation found he routinely pulled over drivers for minor traffic infractions and then arrested them after planting drugs inside their vehicles, officials said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a release that agents arrested 26-year-old Zachary Wester on Wednesday morning on felony charges of racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, possession of a controlled substance and false imprisonment.
The former sheriff’s deputy was also charged with misdemeanor perjury, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The office said the arrest came as a result of an investigation it launched at the request of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office last year.
“The investigation shows Wester routinely pulled over citizens for alleged minor traffic infractions, planted drugs inside their vehicles and arrested them on fabricated drug charges,” the department said. “Wester circumvented JCSO’s body camera policy and tailored his recordings to conceal his criminal activity.”
Seriously, who is the person who is pulling over? You know nothing about them or their moral character. All you know is that your heart rate jumped to 120 when you saw lights in your rear view. This person has a badge and a gun and is backed by plenty of other cops and the court system. Your freedom and life , from the very first moment you interact with them, are at risk. Just because they are sworn officers of the court and enforcers of the law, does not cover the character flaws that drive so many to enter law enforcement. Many are people with issues of control and power. These issues show in their professional interactions and often spill over into their personal lives. For example:
National center for women and policing
“Two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, (1, 2) in contrast to 10% of families in the general population.(3) A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24% (4), indicating that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among police families than American families in general. A police department that has domestic violence offenders among its ranks will not effectively serve and protect victims in the community.5, 6, 7, 8 Moreover, when officers know of domestic violence committed by their colleagues and seek to protect them by covering it up, they expose the department to civil liability.7
Domestic violence is always a terrible crime, but victims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the officer who is abusing them:
has a gun,
knows the location of battered women’s shelters, and
knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim.5, 6
Victims often fear calling the police, because they know the case will be handled by officers who are colleagues and/or friends of their abuser. Victims of police family violence typically fear that the responding officers will side with their abuser and fail to properly investigate or document the crime.5, 7
These suspicions are well founded, as most departments across the country typically handle cases of police family violence informally, often without an official report, investigation, or even check of the victim’s safety.5, 8, 9 This “informal” method is often in direct contradiction to legislative mandates and departmental policies regarding the appropriate response to domestic violence crimes. Moreover, a 1994 nationwide survey of 123 police departments documented that almost half (45%) had no specific policy for dealing with officer-involved domestic violence. In that same study:
The most common discipline imposed for a sustained allegation of domestic violence was counseling.
Only 19% of the departments indicated that officers would be terminated after a second sustained allegation of domestic violence.9
A recent study of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department found inconsistent policies and practices for officers accused of domestic violence, regarding arrests, seizure of firearms, and Employee Assistance treatment.10 There is no reason to believe that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is unique in this; rather, this inconsistency is typical for police agencies responding to domestic violence committed by its own members.
Although the International Association of Chiefs of Police have prepared a model policy on police officer-involved domestic violence, there is no evidence that police departments across the country are doing anything other than simply including the policy in their manuals.
The reality is that even officers who are found guilty of domestic violence are unlikely to be fired, arrested, or referred for prosecution, raising concern that those who are tasked with enforcing the law cannot effectively police themselves.5, 6, 7 For example:
In 1998-1999, 23 domestic violence complaints were filed against Boston police employees, but none resulted in criminal prosecution.6
The San Diego City Attorney typically prosecutes 92% of the domestic violence cases that are referred, but only 42% of the cases involving a police officer as the perpetrator are prosecuted.11
Between 1990 and 1997, the Los Angles Police Department investigated 227 cases of alleged domestic violence by officers, of which 91 were sustained. Of these 91 allegations that were sustained by the department, only 4 resulted in a criminal conviction. That means that the LAPD itself determined in 91 cases that an officer had committed domestic violence, but only 4 were convicted on a criminal charge. Moreover, of these 4 officers who were convicted on a criminal charge of domestic violence, one was suspended for only 15 days and another had his conviction expunged.12
In fact, an in-depth investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department conducted by the Office of the Inspector General concluded that the discipline imposed on officers found guilty of domestic violence “was exceedingly light when the facts of each incident were examined” (p. i).12
The study of the Los Angeles Police Department further examined the 91 cases in which an allegation of domestic violence was sustained against an officer.
Over three-fourths of the time, this sustained allegation was not mentioned in the officer’s performance evaluation.
Twenty-six of these officers (29%) were promoted, including six who were promoted within two years of the incident.
The report concluded that “employees with sustained allegations were neither barred from moving to desired positions nor transferred out of assignments that were inconsistent with the sustained allegation” (p. iii).12
In 1997, the Los Angeles Office of the Inspector General conducted an investigation of the LAPD after a legal consultant named Bob Mullally leaked shocking LAPD personnel files to the press. These files documented scores of violent domestic crimes committed by LAPD officers. Mullally was so shocked by the LAPD’s mishandling of this police family violence that he decided to violate the civil protective order in the case he was working on and turn the files over to the media, in the hopes of creating change in the LAPD.
Rather than reviewing the problem or recommending improvements, the LAPD sued Mullally for leaking the information.
In 2002, after multiple appeals, Mullally was sentenced to 45 days in federal prison. None of the police officers he exposed were ever prosecuted for their crimes, and many continue to serve as gun-carrying LAPD officers.
Even the prosecutor in the case stated on record that this sentence was “extreme” for a violation of a civil protective order.
Mullally is the first person in United States history to ever serve a jail term for this type of violation. He served his time in 2003, 6 years after he exposed the files.
1 Johnson, L.B. (1991). On the front lines: Police stress and family well-being. Hearing before the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families House of Representatives: 102 Congress First Session May 20 (p. 32-48). Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.
2 Neidig, P.H., Russell, H.E. & Seng, A.F. (1992). Interspousal aggression in law enforcement families: A preliminary investigation. Police Studies, Vol. 15 (1), p. 30-38.
3 Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). Physical violence in American families – risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
4 P.H. Neidig, A.F. Seng, and H.E. Russell, “Interspousal Aggression in Law Enforcement Personnel Attending the FOP Biennial Conference,” National FOP Journal. Fall/Winter 1992, 25-28.
5 Levinson, A. (June 29, 1997). Abusers behind a badge. Arizona Republic.
6 Police departments fail to arrest policemen for wife abuse (November 15, 1998). The Boston Globe.
7 Feltgen, J. (October, 1996). Domestic violence: When the abuser is a police officer. The Police Chief, p. 42-49.
8 Lott, L.D. (November, 1995). Deadly secrets: Violence in the police family. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, p. 12-16.
9 Arlington, Texas Police Department and Southwestern Law Enforcement Institute (1995). Domestic assaults among police: A survey of internal affairs policies. Southwestern Law Enforcement Institute.
10 Cassidy, M., Nicholl, C.G. & Ross, C.R. (2001). Results of a Survey Conducted by the Metropolitan Police Department of Victims who Reported Violence Against Women. Executive Summary published by the DC Metropolitan Police Department.
11 Thornton, K. (May 11, 1998). Police and domestic violence. San Diego Union-Tribune.
12 Domestic Violence Task Force (1997). Domestic Violence in the Los Angeles Police Department: How Well Does the Los Angeles Police Department Police Its Own? Office of the Inspector General.
13 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4278), Section 658.
14 Kime, R.C. (December, 1996). New federal gun ban tied to domestic violence convictions. The Police Chief, p. 10.
15 Culp, M.H. (March, 2000). Officer-involved orders for protection: A management challenge. The Police Chief, p. 10.
16 Ed Meyer et al. (1999, December 5). Few lose jobs. Akron Beacon Journal.
17 Model policy overlooks views of Chicago’s in-house expert (April 30, 1998). Law Enforcement News, p. 9.
18 Tobar, H. (May 26, 1997). Officer’s expunged conviction angers ex-wife. Los Angeles Times.
19 Tobar, H. (May 9, 1997). 3 Deputies go to court, regain right to carry guns. Los Angeles Times.
20 Records deleted in assault case involving Louisville policeman. (November 1, 2001). Louisville Courier Journal.
“So far this month, two New York City police commanders have been arrested on corruption allegations, an officer in Killeen, Tex., has been accused of sexually assaulting a female driver, a Philadelphia police officer has been charged with extortion of a drug dealer, and an officer in Honolulu has been accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.
Such sporadic news accounts of police officers being arrested led one group of researchers to a question: How much crime do police officers commit? No one was keeping track, much as no one was tracking how often police officers shoot and kill civilians, although both may involve use of police power and abuse of public trust.
Now there is an answer: Police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day, according to a new national study. The most common crimes were simple assault, drunken driving and aggravated assault, and significant numbers of sex crimes were also found. About 72 percent of officers charged in cases with known outcomes are convicted, more than 40 percent of the crimes are committed on duty, and nearly 95 percent of the officers charged are men.
The study is thought to be the first-ever nationwide look at police crime, and was conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University through a grant from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. The research covered seven years, 2005 to 2011, and sought to quantify not only the prevalence of police officers arrested across the country, but also how law enforcement agencies discipline officers who are arrested and how officer arrests might correlate with other forms of misconduct.”
For example, the study found that 22 percent of the officers arrested had been named as defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit at some point in their careers, unrelated to their arrest case. The authors suggest that police agencies analyzing such suits “could potentially lead to new and improved mechanisms to identify and mitigate various forms of police misconduct.”
In the seven years of the study, the researchers compiled 6,724 cases, or about 960 cases per year, involving about 792 officers per year — 674 officers were arrested more than once. But the study has continued beyond 2011, and lead researcher Philip M. Stinson at Bowling Green said the number of cases now averages about 1,100 arrests per year.
“Police crimes are not uncommon,” Stinson concluded. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.” Although nearly 60 percent of the crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” Stinson wrote, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”
“This is probably the tip of the iceberg,” said Cara Rabe-Hemp, a professor at Illinois State University who has studied police deviance. She said the effort is the “first-ever study to quantify police crime” and shows it is “much much more common than what police scholars and police administrators previously thought.”
“JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 21-year-old female corrections officer was arrested and fired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office after police said she beat a woman who was shackled in the Duval County jail.
Catherine Thompson had been with JSO for 14 months and was still in her probationary period, Undersheriff Pat Ivey said Thursday.
Ivey said a woman was arrested Friday on a charge of driving without a valid license. The woman, Kirenda Welch, encountered Thompson while being searched at the jail and the two exchanged insults, Ivey said.
Welch, who told News4Jax she’s five weeks pregnant, said the episode began when she took issue with the itchy uniform she was given, according to her complaint.
“The pants immediately started to itch me. Something was wrong with the pants. I told her, ‘These are old. They’re dirty, and they stink and I’m itching. I can’t put on the pants. I left the shirt on. Can you please give me another pair of pants?'” Welch said.
She said her criticism was met with racial slurs.
“She pretty much went off and started calling me Kunta Kinte,” said Welch, referring to the slave character from the novel and TV miniseries “Roots.”
At some point, Ivey said, Welch was placed in four-point restraints, meaning she was handcuffed and her legs were shackled, and her hands and legs were connected by a chain. She said things escalated when she complained that the shackles were too tight.
According to Ivey, Thompson hit Welch in the face and knocked her to the floor. He said she repeatedly attacked Welch while she was on the ground. At one point during the struggle, Welch said, she fought back. She was later maced”
“She punched me dead in my forehead, right in the middle. Boom. I could not believe it,” Welch said. “I can’t believe she’s doing this. I’m shackled up. I’m on my back … She used both hands and banged my head into the concrete wall. I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is it. It’s happening.’
“Ivey said Thompson then wrote a report about the incident that was “not honest.” Thompson has been charged with misdemeanor battery and official misconduct, which is a felony. Because she was still on probation, Thompson was fired immediately. Ivey said he did not know the specifics of the verbal exchange between the two women.
Welch, 36, told News4Jax on Thursday that, physically, she has some scrapes that are healing. Mentally, she said, she’s dealing with post-traumatic stress and worrying that her unborn child could be injured. Welch said she’s planning to file a lawsuit against JSO.”
“Welch also gave News4Jax the details of the traffic stop Friday that led to her being taken to the Duval County jail.
Welch said she and her two children were on the way back from a youth basketball game Friday evening. She said she was driving a Dodge Charger on Firestone Road when her toddler got out of his safety seat.
“I tried to hurry and pull over, so I made an illegal U-turn. I was trying to get him settled,” she said.
That’s when a police officer got behind her and initiated a traffic stop.
Welch said she then got out of her car to tend to her son in the back seat while the officer was parked behind her.
“He jumped out with a gun drawn. So I’m like, ‘Oh my God. Please don’t shoot. I was, like, ‘I don’t want to die.’ I told my son to put his hands up,” Welch said. “The officer later told me that he didn’t know what I was going to do to him. That’s why he had his gun drawn.”
The officer checked her license and learned it was suspended.
“I ran through a toll I didn’t know about. They sent it to my old address. I never got it. I didn’t pay it so they suspended my license,” Welch said. “So, I’m riding around all this time and they said a judge signed off on it May 30.”
She was then placed under arrest and taken to the Duval County jail, where investigators said she was beaten by the now-former corrections officer.”
SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio Independent School District police officer was arrested early Thursday after investigators said she caused a wreck while driving the wrong way on Loop 1604. Christina Vasquez, 29, faces a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated. According to a blood draw warrant, …
PANAMA CITY, Fla. – A Panama City police officer has been arrested after failing to report the sexual abuse of a child. Reports say police officer Kurn Lam, was made aware of an incident where a 7 year-old child was being sexually abused. Lam failed to report the act to the department of children and …
RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond Police Officer has been arrested for sexual assault against a minor. Richard L. Davidson, Jr., 47 was arrested on Friday, February 9, and charged with taking indecent liberties by custodian. The juvenile victim is known to the Davidson, according to police. Additional details …
Police Officer Arrested for Car Crash That Killed Infant. A Baton Rouge police officer has been arrested on charges stemming from an off-duty car crash that killed a 1-year-old girl last year. Feb. 16, 2018, at 5:36 p.m.. Police OfficerArrested for Car Crash That Killed Infant. Share. ×. Share on Facebook · Post on Twitter.
The investigation by Detective Vance Patton, Indiana State Police, began in January of this year when the Laurel Town Marshal contacted the Indiana State Police after another Laurel Police Officer received a stolen handgun as a gift from Ellis in December 2017. The investigation determined that Ellis …
OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An Oakland police officer was arrested for driving under the influence early Monday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol. CHP officials said Officer Isaac Goins was pulled over just after 2 a.m. Monday, traveling eastbound on Interstate Highway 580 near Park …
An eastern Iowa police officer was arrested on drug charges Friday after sheriff’s authorities responded to a domestic disturbance call. 39-year-old Rodger Sear III, an officer for the MarMac Unified Police Department, is facing a felony charge of manufacturing marijuana, along with other charges
An eastern Iowa police officer was arrested on drug charges Friday after sheriff’s authorities responded to a domestic disturbance call. 39-year-old Rodger Sear III, an officer for the MarMac Unified Police Department, is facing a felony charge of manufacturing marijuana, along with other charges related to …
Hogansville Police officer arrested on drug distribution charges … A Hogansville Police officer was arrested for marijuana possession with intent to distribute. Coweta County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Hogansville Officer Daniel Kemp. The 23-year-old officer was immediately placed on administrative leave.
Officer Angela Gaston was charged with obstructing official business, expired license and failure to comply. According to reports, on February 12 a Cleveland Police officer was conducting traffic enforcement near Huron Road and Prospect Ave when a vehicle with outstanding tickets totaling $1520 was …
Princeton has been charged with 26 counts of possession of child pornography, possession/reproducing child pornography and fourteen counts of possession/reproduce child pornography with intent. Officials say Princeton was a former Portsmouth Police officer from October 29, 2001 until January 31, …
(AP) — Police say an officer in Virginia has been arrested in the sexual assault of a minor. Richmond police say in a Monday statement that 47-year-old Richard L. Davidson Jr. is charged with taking indecent liberties by custodian. Police say he knew the victim but did not explain how. Police say Davidson …
Former JSO officer, current News4Jax analyst arrested for allegedly soliciting prostitute … in the community as a former public information officer for JSO and has been working as a crime and safety analyst for Jacksonville’s Channel 4 since 2014. Smith served the community as a JSO officer for 26 years.
SPRINGFIELD – An off-duty Battle Creek police officer was arrested early Sunday on drunk driving charge after a crash. Calhoun County Sheriff Department deputies reported the crash at 3:51 a.m. near 20th Street and Richfield Avenue in Springfield. Deputies reported that the officer, driving his personal …
Police officer sobs as he is arrested on suspicion of blackmail. This is the moment that a policeman was caught on the Channel 4 show 24 Hours in Police Custody for blackmail and upon hearing the news burst into tears. Facebook Watch series chronicles Darrell… Read More · 1:07min · Victoria Bonya …
ROGERS — An emotional police chief announced Monday the arrest of a former police officer and convicted murderer in the 1997 rape of a Rogers schoolteacher. “It’s a great day for our victim,” a tearful Rogers Police Chief Hayes Minor said. “It’s a great day for the men and women of our department.
A police officer breaks down in tears after being arrested on suspicion of blackmail as part of an investigation to weed out corrupt cops. DC Gareth Suffling is led away in handcuffs after he was found to have accessed a blackmail victim’s details on his police computer to find out his address before the victim …
Welcome to Florida, home of the dirty cop. What you don’t want to have happen is for one of these heroes in blue to pull you over on vacation; And in Florida they make that really easy. With almost no probable cause you can be stopped. While traveling down the highway a Florida cop can say that he smelled the odor of burning marijuana and pull you over. Another famous one is the “No seat belt”. When someone has tinted windows it is almost impossible to see whether or not they are belted. Yet, in Florida “No seat belt” is cause to pull you over. Good luck, stay safe andstay away from this guy and his buddies.
“MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A City of Miami police officer is on the wrong side of the law, facing a charge of cocaine possession.
Officer Adrian Santos is suspended with pay pending termination proceedings, according to Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes who spoke at an afternoon news conference regarding the arrest.
Investigators say Santos was charged for allegedly snorting cocaine at E11EVEN nightclub in Miami on November 18th and it was captured on club surveillance video.
“It appears [to show] him bringing something to his nose, and sniffing the cocaine,” Llanes said of the surveillance footage.
Santos was detained by club bouncers and turned over to Miami Police.
“A forensic analysis positively indicated the white powdery substance as cocaine,” Llanes added.
A two and a half-year veteran, Santos was off-duty and out of uniform at the time.
Santos surrendered to authorities on January 8th and has since been released.”
If you have ever had a cop lie about you on a police report, you are far from alone. It is standard practice in almost every interaction for the cops involved to change their reports to fit the narrative they want. It doesn’t get quashed because in most cases even when it is obvious. In court the judge and the prosecutor would rather have a win than “Impeach the testimony of a sworn officer of the court”. After all , wins get prosecutors points and the fees and fines pay the judges salary. I actually have a transcript from a court case in Pinellas Florida where an FWC officer blatantly lied in clear contradiction of his deposed testimony. The judge allowed the lie in the record which ended in a conviction. The very same judge illegally allowed an officer to give a victims impact statement at sentencing when there was no victim at all. The officer actually wanted to read an article from an “Anti police” site written by the defendants husband. The judge allowed it, said he couldn’t let it influence his sentence, and then quoted the article during sentencing. Don’t be surprised if a cop lies; it is part of the system. Innocent men don’t pay fines, only those found guilty do.
“Three Boynton Beach police officers took part in an illegal “beatdown” of a suspect, then concocted a cover-up when they found out they had been videotaped by a hovering helicopter, prosecutors told jurors Tuesday.
Defense attorneys for the three men, only one of whom still works in law enforcement, told the jury the criminal trial is an unfair attempt by prosecutors to second-guess how the officers handled a very dangerous arrest.
“People want to second-guess them after the fact. … The government is Monday-morning quarterbacking,” defense attorney Bruce Reinhart said during opening statements in federal court in West Palm Beach.
But prosecutors quickly followed up with damaging testimony from three fellow law enforcement officers – who expressed concerns about how the incident, and the aftermath, was handled by the defendants.
The trio accused of inflicting the beating – Officer Michael Brown and former officers Justin Harris and Ronald Ryan – have pleaded not guilty to federal charges that could send them to prison if they are convicted.
Prosecutors say Brown, Harris and Ryan used “excessive force” by beating and kicking the front-seat passenger and using a stun gun on him after a high-speed chase on Aug. 20, 2014.
They also said the officers filed false initial reports about what happened and then adjusted them about a week later after they found out that the beating was videotaped by an overhead helicopter operated by the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
The officers had arrested the front-seat passenger, Jeffrey Braswell, on a charge of resisting arrest without violence before they found out about the video.
After realizing what was on tape, they rewrote their reports and added claims that Braswell had resisted them, tried to assault them and appeared to have been reaching for a weapon or trying to escape, prosecutors said. The officers were trying to justify their excessive use of force by making it seem like the suspect resisted them enough to justify what they did, according to the prosecution.
Boynton Beach Police Officer Patrick Monteith testified Tuesday that he saw much of what unfolded after the police chase ended and officers “swarmed” around the suspects’ car. His testimony, which resumes on Wednesday, suggested that Braswell was not resisting during the beating.
Monteith, who told jurors it was a “little bit” uncomfortable to see his fellow officers in court, testified that he had his police rifle trained on Braswell and watched much of what unfolded from just in front of the hood of the suspects’ car.
“I could see his [Braswell’s] hands. His hands were up. … He was blocking blows that were coming [from officers],” Monteith testified.
Braswell, whose seat belt was still on, was jerking back and forth in the seat from the blows like he was in a washing machine, Monteith said.”